Fine Gael 'dark horses' vie for agri ministry
Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30
If there is a new minority coalition - and it remains an 'if' -there will be a Minister for Rural Affairs supposedly dealing with all country matters outside the farm gate. This will make the choice of Agriculture Minister trickier than usual.
The farm unions still pack a punch and a re-vamped IFA under new president, Joe Healy, will be trying to claw back farmer confidence and re-build influence in the corridors of power.
Strongly defending Ireland's farm interests in a pending EU-US trade deal will loom large from the word go.
The Rural Affairs portfolio is earmarked for one of the rural Independent TDs. But Agriculture will certainly be kept by Fine Gael. So, who is in the frame?
The acting Arts Minister, Heather Humphreys, who lives on her family's farm in Ahabog, Co Monaghan, is most talked about.
She is certain to retain a cabinet seat but could leave the arts portfolio.
Simon Coveney, then aged 38, was one of Fine Gael's young Turks when appointed on March 9, 2011.
The need for someone who knew Irish farming, helped overcome being on the wrong side in the botched 2010 leadership heave against Enda Kenny.